Top 20 Worst Mistakes To Make in an Airport

By Yuki Hayashi for readersdigest.ca

Mistake #1: Leaving your bag(s) behind: “My husband and I were taking a family vacation to Orlando with our three sons, and one of us left one of our bags on the ground, right by the door of our minivan, in the airport parking lot in Buffalo. We left it behind as we rushed to catch the airport shuttle bus, and didn’t realize the bag was missing until we were checking our baggage,” says Sonja Babic, of Toronto.

Fortunately, this didn’t ruin their vacation – but it could have been worse, had medication or valuables had been in the bag.

Upshot: Note how many bags your party has and conduct regular bag counts before you leave the parking lot, check-in counter, airport Tim Horton’s, baggage claim, etc.

Mistake #2: Being stuck barefoot: Wear socks with your shoes, or pack ankle socks in your carry-on and slip into them in the security line, so you don’t have to hobble across dirty floors barefoot.

Mistake #3: Not packing snacks: Always pack snacks in your carry-on. If you’re stuck in a long security line and run out of time to buy food in the departure lounge, or if your plane doesn’t sell anything you actually want to eat, you’re covered.

Mistake #4: Not scouting the arrival airport: If you’ve got a connecting flight, plan your route to the second gate, before you get off your first flight. If your stopover is under an hour, it could make the difference between making or missing your next flight. Refer to a map of the arrival airport on your mobile device, or rip out the map page of the in-flight magazine.

Mistake #5: Arriving late: True story: a few years ago, my family drove nine hours from Toronto to Newark, NJ – after wasting three hours in a futile attempt to fly standby – because we missed the first leg of a three-plane journey to the volcano island of Montserrat, West Indies. We desperately needed not to miss the second leg of this trip, a twice-weekly fight from Newark to Antigua. If we missed that flight the following morning, it would effectively cancel a bucket-list trip we’d spent over one year orchestrating and pre-paying for.

We made it to our destination – a day late – and with $700 in additional fees, all because we got to the airport with under an hour to spare on a CDA-US flight during peak-travel March Break.

Lesson learned: on busy travel days, arrive at the airport 3 ½ hours before an international flight, 3 hours before a US flight, and 2 hours before a domestic flight. Paranoid? Maybe. Better that than the alternative!

Mistake #6: Parking in the most-expensive lot: You’ll pay a premium to park in the lot closest to the airport terminal. Discount lots save you big-time, but they require a short shuttle drive. Savvy park-and-flyers arrive early so they can be choosy about parking.

Mistake #7: Over-packing: Overweight baggage results in steep penalties. Cumbersome carry-on bags make travelling uncomfortable, particularly if you have young children with you. Solution: edit, edit, edit! Pack less and you’ll stress less.

Mistake #8: Waiting in the loooooooong security lineups: If you travel to the US more than once a year, apply for the joint US-Canada NEXUS program. Cardholders sail through dedicated border clearance lines, making the $50 program fee (free for kids) a bargain in time and aggravation saved.

Mistake #9: Bearing an about-to-expire passport: Some countries won’t let you in if your passport expires within three or even six months of your planned date of entry. Check the entry requirements for the country you plan to visit, and renew your passport in advance, so you don’t get turned back at the airport.

Mistake #10: Not bringing a “permission slip” for your daughter or son: Travel consent letters aren’t just for divorced parents, as Toronto mom Ceri Marsh discovered a couple years back when she tried to fly from Toronto to New York City with her then 2-1/2-year-old.

“We were meeting my husband in New York. I had been told by the Canadian passport office and the airline that I didn’t require a notarized letter from my husband to fly with her on my own. They both said since we’re not divorced, it wasn’t necessary. Of course, in retrospect that’s ridiculous: you can’t tell someone’s marital status from a passport or airline ticket,” says Marsh.

Upshot: Marsh and her daughter were detained by US Customs agents, missed their flight, and had to wait hours for the next available flight. Airline and customs agents are trained to spot possible child abductions, so if there’s a second custodial parent, always carry a notarized permission letter on cross-border, solo-parent trips. “This was about the least pleasant travel experience of my life. Throwing a 2 year old off her schedule is never a good idea,” says Marsh.

Mistake #11: Losing your cool with airport personnel: From callous gate agents to creep-tastic transportation security personnel, everyone has a complaint about airport personnel. But, the fact remains, there are more good apples than bad, so chill.

Also: venting is more likely to get you delayed or arrested than en route to your vacation.

Mistake #12: Not gate-checking your bags: Why pay to check your bags, when you can gate-check them for free? (Provided they are carry-on size, of course).

Mistake #13: Slowing down the security line: Do your bit to keep the security checkpoint moving. Wear easy-on, easy-off shoes. Take your jacket off in line so it’s ready for the bin. Empty your pockets and get that laptop out of your briefcase. Done and done.

Mistake #14: Crowding the baggage claim carousel: Unless you have catlike reflexes and are in great shape, don’t join the scrum right where the bags first drop onto the carousel. Ditto if you have a common-looking bag: a black nylon soft case, for instance:

“Ooops. That wasn’t mine. Can I just squeeze past you to put it back…Oh, sorry for hitting you with that. Hey: is that my bag—excuse me, I need to squeeze past again…”

If you need to use both hands and some swinging action to get the bag off the carousel, pick a spot where you’re less likely to have a neighbour within hitting distance.

Mistake #15: Not IDing your bag properly: For your personal security, check bags with a discrete tag marked with your name, cell phone, and email address – or your business card – never your home address.

Mistake #16: Not IDing your bag flamboyantly: To quickly identify your bag on a luggage carousel and prevent baggage theft, tie a ribbon, use a decorative luggage strap, or decorate the bag with stickers or colourful duct tape.

Mistake #17: Packing valuables into your checked baggage: Just one word: don’t.

Mistake #18: Sketchy airport transportation: Planning ahead saves you money and headaches when it comes to transportation from your destination airport to your accommodations, so don’t even get on your flight without having done your advance recogiscence. In big cities, grab a marked taxi from the official lineup (don’t try to save money on a “gypsy cab”), but if you’re headed to a resort destination in an unfamiliar country, pre-book transportation with your resort.

Mistake #19: Not knowing when to cut your losses: Sometimes you’ll slip up and pack a liquid that’s over 100mL, or forget your Swiss Army keychain is, technically speaking, a knife. Upon being faced with confiscation, you may want to rush back and check the item within a bag. But if it’s a particularly busy travel day, doing so may cause you to lose your flight. Smart travellers know when to cut their losses.

Mistake #20: Not spending when necessary: Yes, the noise-cancelling headphones at the gift shop cost nearly double what they did at Best Buy. But… if you forgot to pack yours, consider that you’ll be spending the next six hours packed like a sardine next to potentially snoring/humming/crying/muttering/mouth-breathing strangers… Sometimes, paying that airport-retail premium may just salvage one airport mistake, preventing it from morphing into something worse: a plane ride from hell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Irma: Air Transat airlifts all travellers from Cuba

Hurricane Irma: Air Transat airlifts all travellers from Cuba

After it evacuated its passengers out of the Dominican Republic, Air Transat is continuing its rescue operation and is evacuating its passengers  that are in the trajectory of Hurricane Irma. The company announces that it is deploying a total of 10 flights to Cuba to evacuate its clients: four flights to Varadero, three to Santa Clara, two to Cayo Coco and one to Holguin. All aircraft should arrive in Cuba on September 7, and passengers should be back in Canada in the afternoon or late evening.

This operation will allow more than 1,800 passengers to be repatriated.

Transat continues to monitor the evolution of Hurricane Irma and regular updates will be posted on its websites.

About Air Transat
Air Transat is Canada’s number one holiday travel airline in the Canadian and transatlantic markets. It also offers domestic and feeder flights out of five Canadian airports. Every year, it carries nearly 4.5 million passengers to approximately 60 destinations in 26 countries. Based in Montreal, the company employs 3,000 people and operates a fleet of Boeing narrow-body and Airbus wide-body jets. In 2017, Air Transat was named the second-best leisure airline in the world, and the best in North America in the same category for the sixth consecutive year, by Skytrax. In recent years, the carrier has earned multiple distinctions for its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint. Since 2011, it has consistently been ranked number one in North America for energy efficiency, and in the Top 20 worldwide, by the Atmosfair Airline Index. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., a leading integrated international tourism company active in air transportation, accommodation, travel packaging and distribution. Transat was awarded Travelife Partner status in 2016 in recognition of its commitment to sustainable development. The vacation travel companion par excellence, Transat celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017.

 

SOURCE Transat A.T. Inc.

Canadian Transportation Agency plans consultations on airline passenger rights

Canadians will soon have their say on the future of airline passenger rights with the Canadian Transportation Agency planning broad public consultations on new regulations.

The input-gathering will launch once a bill aimed at modernizing transit rules is passed in Parliament, and comes at a time of rising complaints about the state of air travel.

Scott Streiner, chair of the CTA, said in a speech in Calgary Wednesday that the agency has been getting about 500 air travel complaints a month between December and March, up from about 800 a year in recent years.

The uptick comes after it started last August to try and raise awareness about the CTA’s role in dealing with passenger issues, and made it easier for the public to send in their complaints.

He said the agency is planning for two to three months of public consultations that will include online discussions, written submissions and day-long open sessions.

“We are going to give Canadians an opportunity across the country to let us know what they think should be in those regulations,” said Streiner.

“The current legislative framework has sometimes been confusing for air travellers. We know that it’s produced frustration and we also feel that it hasn’t allowed for system-wide solutions to problems.”

He said the regulations will focus on creating more clarity about passenger rights and consistent requirements across airlines when it comes to compensation for passengers affected by issues such as cancelled flights, delays and lost luggage. The agency aims to have the new rules in place in 2018.

Streiner said airlines are already starting to make their compensation policies easier to find and read, while Transport Minister Marc Garneau has urged airlines to ensure children can be seated next to a parent at no extra charge and to stop bumping passengers before regulations are finalized.

 

Physician who was dragged off flight settles with United

Physician who was dragged off flight settles with United

By Michael Tarm And Don Babwin

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO _ The passenger who was dragged off a United flight after he refused to give up his seat to airline employees settled with the airline for an undisclosed sum Thursday in an apparent attempt by the company to put the fiasco behind it as quickly as possible.

David Dao’s legal team said in a brief statement that the agreement includes a provision that the amount will remain confidential. One his lawyers praised United CEO Oscar Munoz.

Munoz “said he was going to do the right thing, and he has,” Thomas Demetrio said in the statement. “In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened … without attempting to blame others, including the city of Chicago.”

The settlement came less than three weeks after the episode, before Dao had even sued. The deal means United will not face a lawsuit that could have been costly, both in legal bills and in further public-relations damage.

United issued a brief statement, saying it was pleased to report “an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard Flight 3411.”

Cellphone video of the April 9 confrontation aboard a jetliner at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport sparked widespread public outrage over the way Dao was treated.

The footage showed airport police officers pulling the 69-year-old Kentucky physician from his seat and dragging him down the aisle. His lawyer said he lost teeth and suffered a broken nose and a concussion.

In a phone interview with The Associated Press, Demetrio said the settlement also averts any lawsuit against the city of Chicago. Airport police officers who work for the city pulled Dao off the jet.

“I praise Mr. Munoz and his people for not trying to throw the city under the bus or pass the buck,” Demetrio said. “He stood in front of the world and has stated that, ‘We, United, take full responsibility.”’

Demetrio said it was “unheard of” for a company to admit responsibility so quickly and completely.

“I hope corporate America notices when you goof up, people respect you a heck of a lot more when you admit it, instead of making people go through three years of depositions, motions, court hearings.”

He said Dao was also impressed that “United stepped up to the plate.”

The incident arose from a common air travel issue a fully booked flight. Wanting to seat four crew members, the airline offered passengers $400 and later $800 to voluntarily relinquish their seats. When no one did, United selected four passengers at random.

Three people got off the flight, but Dao refused, saying he needed to get home to treat patients the next day. The airline then summoned the officers, who forcibly removed Dao.

The incident was a major embarrassment for United. The company’s response in the immediate aftermath was widely criticized. Munoz first defended the airline and described Dao as “belligerent” before publicly apologizing days later and vowing to do better.

The three airport police officers who dragged Dao from the plane were placed on leave from the Chicago Department of Aviation.

The agency released a report April 24 in which the officer who pulled Dao from his seat, James Long, gave his version of events. Long said Dao was verbally and physically abusive and was flailing his arms before he lost his balance and struck his mouth on an armrest.

The department’s roughly 300 officers guard the city’s two main airports but are not part of the regular Chicago police force. They receive less training and cannot carry guns inside the terminals.

Also Thursday, the airline released a report detailing mistakes that led to the incident. United said would raise to $10,000 the limit on the payments it offers to customers who give up seats on oversold flights and increase training for employees.

United has vowed to reduce, but not eliminate, overbooking.

The airline has not said whether ticket sales have dropped since Dao was removed from the jet.

Airplane Insider: Secrets I Learned Sitting Next to an Airline Pilot

Airplane Insider: Secrets I Learned Sitting Next to an Airline Pilot

While boarding a recent early morning flight returning from a Caribbean island, I had a déjà vu moment of sorts. I qualify it because I wasn’t reliving my own experience. Yahoo Travel editor Leah Ginsberg had just shared seven great examples of knowledge gleaned when she sat in the exit row with off-duty pilots. As hubby and I settled into a rare splurge on extra-legroom exit-row seats, sure enough, a pair of uniformed pilots slipped into the row across the aisle from us. It was like sitting with the cool kids!

I excitedly awaited the opportunity to start a conversation and see what I could learn. After the drink cart passed, I prompted hubby to lean across the aisle and break the ice by asking where they had spent the night on an island where most accommodations limit regular travelers to weeklong stays. He prefaced the question by telling them that we have been visiting the island for five years and that opened the door to a flood of questions, not from me, but from them! Here’s what I found out.

1. Pilots long to enjoy the destinations they fly us to. They wanted to know everything we knew about the island. They asked where we eat, where we stay, what our favorite dive sites are, and even what it costs for a week (excluding the cost of airfare, of course). One talked about bringing his wife; the other was scouting honeymoon destinations for his daughter.

It was only after more than an hour of asking questions that they got around to explaining the intricate details of pilot downtime rules that force the need for pilot rotations like the one they were on. If the inbound flight the night before is delayed even a little, there could potentially not be enough official rest time before morning. (The downtime doesn’t start when the plane lands, but when they are “behind the hotel door.”) The inbound pilots would not be able to fly back out on schedule the next morning. The guys sitting in coach with us had flown the plane in; a second crew was flying it home. So they often don’t have time to get to know the destination to which they are going.

2. Even pilots have travel bucket lists. It’s hard to believe that two pilots nearing the end of long careers flying the globe could have travel destinations yet to conquer, but both of these guys did. One wants to visit Ireland and has a trip planned there soon. The other confessed that when he travels for fun, it’s usually by car, but that he would love to spend time in Asia.

3. Pilots judge other pilots on their flying skills. It’s like there’s some secret point system. We had an incident on our approach to landing during which both nonflying pilots sized up the guy actually flying the plane. Just as the tarmac appeared beneath our plane, the engines roared and we suddenly climbed hard and began banking. While everyone else craned to look out the windows for an explanation, I looked at the pilots.

The aisle pilot calmly said, “Oops.” The window pilot studied the runway, now far below us, before explaining that it looked like a plane on the ground had not quite cleared the runway while taxiing to its gate. “No point lost for our guy,” he said. “It was a good call. He did the right thing.”

4. Pilots sometimes get annoyed or fight with the control tower (politely, of course). The two pilots agreed that such conversations were likely taking place as we circled wide to get back into position again. Our plane actually had to be routed back into the line of planes waiting to land — at the end of the line, our pilots said. “Sometimes they (the tower) will work you into the middle of the line, but it depends on the stack.”

5. Pilots don’t always tell passengers the truth. Following our missed landing, the pilot flying our plane confirmed over the PA what our aisle buddies had already told us. There had been a taxiing plane not quite clear of our intended landing strip. But not every pilot feels the need to be forthcoming, particularly when they are at fault. The aisle pilot told a story of a missed approach caused by pilot error. That pilot attempted to hide his mistake from passengers by blaming it on a nonexistent plane on the runway. What he did not know was that he told his fictional story to the control tower (which knew better), not to the passengers. Bad piloting and a finger on the wrong communication button put him at the very end of the line for his re-try.

6. Being a pilot can be lonely. My two pilots included their wives and families in every topic of conversation. Their job puts them in exotic destinations, far from their families, in the company of attractive co-workers, but for these two guys at least, it was just another day at the office with an eagerly anticipated return to home and family.

WestJet signs multi-year contract with Suncor

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WestJet announced today it has reached a multi-year agreement as primary provider for Suncor Energy to fly employees and contractors to and from its oil sands operations in Northern Alberta beginning in early November.

WestJet will use a combination of its Boeing 737 Next-Generation and Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft to fly Suncor employees and contractors between Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, and Fort McMurray and its operations in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta. The agreement will involve more than 100 weekly flights.

“We are very pleased to work with another great Canadian company like Suncor,” said Bob Cummings, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial. “Positioning us as the primary provider of charter services for Suncor, this agreement will facilitate the seamless movement of energy sector workers to and from their job sites, as well as from across the WestJet network.”

About WestJet
We are proud to be Canada’s highest-rated airline for customer service, powered by an award-winning culture of care and recognized as one of the country’s top employers. We offer scheduled service to 100 destinations in North America, Central America, theCaribbean and Europe. Through our regional airline, WestJet Encore, and with partnerships with airlines representing every major region of the world, we offer our guests more than 150 destinations in more than 20 countries. Leveraging WestJet’s extensive network, flight schedule and remarkable guest experience, WestJet Vacations delivers affordable, flexible travel experiences with a variety of accommodation options for every guest. Members of our WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more. Our members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of WestJet flights and vacations packages on any day, at any time, to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods  ̶  even on seat sales. For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.

Connect with WestJet on Facebook at facebook.com/westjet
Follow WestJet on Twitter at twitter.com/westjet
Subscribe to WestJet on YouTube at youtube.com/westjet
Read the WestJet blog at blog.westjet.com

SOURCE WestJet

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